It happens this way …
Last Sunday at 8:00 a.m. I was standing on a long line of folks waiting to get into Home Depot. Masked and unmasked, we were respecting six-feet of separation, and still managed to chat with each other. The woman behind me was a nurse from a local hospital who complimented me on my homemade mask. When I learned she was a nurse, I asked her how she was doing. She said she had a few days off to recoup from all the stress in the “war zone.” And, she added, the hardest part of her job was watching people die alone.
Last Sunday was Easter Sunday and it was probably one of the most picture-perfect Easters in memory. Churches streamed their services live, pastors proclaimed “He who was once dead has risen,” and trees and flowers who write their own scriptures reminded us that death is impermanent.
During this past week I’ve thought a lot about what that nurse said and about the aching sadness family and friends must feel not being able to touch or kiss a dying loved one. And I pondered what it might be like for the dying person bereft of human comforters.
Since we’ve all heard stories of people seeing a deceased relative at their bedside as they’re ready to move on, I want to believe that more angels and welcomers than ever are coming to greet them. I want to believe that they – and we – never die alone because of our connections to those who lived before us. I want to believe that life is not ended but merely changed. True or not, I believe.